The relative scope cigarette smoking

New legislation came into force in February 2003 which banned cigarette advertising on billboards and in the newspapers and magazines, which had made a relative impact on the rates of smoking among people after this had taken place and further limitations on advertising at the point of sale were set up in December 2004. Public debates in relation to smoking has been on whether smoking should be banned in all public places or not, and smoking was banned in all public places from the summer of 2007.

The commonness of smoking among the adult population continues to descend among both men and women, even though changes from one year to the next may not be statistically important. Overall occurrence has decreased smoothly from twenty-eight per cent in 1998 to twenty-four per cent in 2005, although the figures for men and for women have changed a small amount.

It should, nevertheless, be noted that even during periods when smoking in the general population is changing little, fluctuation in the survey estimates are to be expected, and this can make the recognition of trends over a short period of time difficult. This recent decline follows a period of little change during the 1990s: the frequency of cigarette smoking fell considerably in the 1970s and the early 1980s, from forty-five per cent in 1974 to thirty-five per cent in 1982.

After 1982, the decrease in rate had slowed down, with commonness of smoking falling by only about one percentage point every two years until 1990, after which it levelled out. Throughout the period during which the GHS has been observing cigarette smoking, it has been higher among men than among women, and continues to be persistent; in 2005, twenty-five per cent of men and twenty-three per cent of women were cigarette smokers. Cigarette smoking varies significantly according to marital status.

Smoking occurs a lot less among married people than among those in any of the three other marital status categories (single, cohabiting, and widowed, divorced or separated). This is not defined by the association between age and marital status (for example, married people and those who are widowed, divorced or separated are older, on average, than single people). The National Statistics Socio-economic classification (NS-SEC), which was introduced in 2001, forbids the categories to be collapsed into broad non-manual and manual groupings.

The GHS has time after time shown outstanding differences in the occurrence of cigarette smoking in relation to socio-economic group, with smoking being considerably more common among those in manual groups than among those in non-manual groups. In the 1970s and 1980s, the occurrence of cigarette smoking decreased more brusquely among those in non-manual than in manual groups, so that differences between the groups became significantly greater. There was hardly any change in the relative scope cigarette smoking during the 1990s.

In England in 2005, twenty-nine per cent of those in manual groups were cigarette smokers, in comparison with thirty-three per cent in 1998, verifying some progress in relation to the targets set out in the Cancer Plan. These are to reduce occurrence among those in the physical group to twenty-six per cent in 2010. However, since the number of those in non-manual groups who are cigarette smokers has declined by a similar amount (from twenty-two per cent in 1998 to nineteen per cent in 2005) the differential between non-manual and manual has not reduced drastically.

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